Are you one of “those” moms?
Isn’t that kind of weird?
Babies can start drinking cow’s milk at 12 months, so they don’t need yours.
Once a baby is old enough to start asking for it, they are too old to nurse.
Up until 6 months ago, these were all thoughts that I had about nursing past 12 months.
I stopped breastfeeding my first 3 boys the week they turned one.
My thoughts on nursing longer have changed with Beau.
I initially breastfed Beau past a year because he refused to drink from a sippy cup, and because I wasn’t ready for that “last” with my last baby. Also, the longer I did nurse him, the more I could see that I was going to experience some sweet times with him that I didn’t experience with the other 3.
Here are some non-nutritional reasons why I absolutely loved nursing him at an older age.
The older they get, the more they like to entertain you. Small babies nursing will give you an adorable milk smile. 18 month olds will try to entertain you with a smile full of milk, and a full belly giggle, that is so contagious you have to take a break from the nursing and recompose yourself. They may even try to blow milk bubbles. Yeah that’s fun.
I’ve memorized his face, but he has also memorized mine. My older baby loves to play with my hair and touch my face and just watch me while he nurses. His little hands have sweetly run over every inch of my face.
He searches for my hand to hold. I always held my infants hands to nurse, but it is different to get to hold the hand of an older baby who is initiating it themselves. He searches to hold my hand or hair or just me. As if holding my heart isn’t enough.
He acknowledges the bond we have enough to ask for it. While I used to think it was weird to nurse a baby who is old enough to ask for it, whether verbally or by motions, now I absolutely love it. He points his way through the house to “our chair,” and it makes me feel so special.
I also love the effect it has had on my older boys.
I can remember at least 3 times when one of them saw a picture of a Victoria’s Secret model and said “hey mom, she looks like you.” And that’s not because I actually look like them, it’s because instead of seeing those pictures as sexy and racy, they see women who have boobs for breastfeeding. Because I have done it so long, breastfeeding has become a natural, normal thing to them. They would see another nursing mother in public and not think twice about it. It makes me laugh to think about my boys assuming those models are just skinny mommas about to nurse a child, instead of the way those models are actually marketed. Yes, I know that the day will come too soon when my boys see women like that and don’t think “breastfeed,” but I am very thankful that their first exposure to boobs was what boobs natural function is intended to be.
Breastfeeding was a health necessity for my first, a financial necessity for the twins, and for my last baby it was just pure enjoyment.
Beau and I have now come to an end of our breastfeeding experience, and I am a little sad. I will never get to do this again. My body is done with this part of motherhood, and my very last baby is growing up too fast. I am thankful that I went ahead and nursed him longer, even though it was “weird”. If you think about it, people do things that they are “too old for” all the time, so nursing to 18 months for me isn’t really that weird.
If you are a breastfeeding mom who is considering going past a year, let me encourage you to give it a try! You will experience a different kind of breastfeeding.
Who cares if someone thinks it is weird, those moments are so worth it.
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